Coming this fall… (Cover Reveal!)

…my first short story collection!  (Art by Arthur Hugot)

THE VOICES OF MARTYRS-Cover1

More details as the release date gets closer.

Gen Con Costumes Cometh

stranger things cosplay GenCon2016Indianapolis just got through hosting “the best four days in gaming” known as Gen Con. In addition to all of the gaming that goes on, the streets of downtown Indianapolis are marked by costumed attendees. Cosplay is serious business, a large part of gaming and geek culture. Cosplay (costume play) is like performance art for fans. How they join in with the object of their fandom, often (re-)interpreting it.

The costuming goes on all week, the Convention Center hallways filled with everyone from Chewbacca, Galactus, an assortment of Disney princesses, My Little Ponies, Dragonball Z, and if you threw a stone, you’d probably hit someone in a Deadpool or a Harley Quinn costume. My personal favorite costumers were an interracial family whose dad was Captain America, the mom as Agent Carter, and their six year old daughter as Black Widow. (Although Jerry Gordon captured some Stranger Things cosplay that was a close second).

The Saturday of Gen Con is the costume parade and the costume contest. Knowing their audience, a group dressed as the Wolfguard Squad fro Warhammer 40K won first place in the group category. Katherine D’Adamo (12) won first place in the kids category for her Sabine Wren costume. Ruby Rouge won first place in the fantasy/historical category for her the Queen of Blades costume. Dressed as a fallout raider from Fallout 4, Eric Livesay took home first place in the video game category.

Next year marks Gen Con 50 and I already excited to see what people will do.

GenCon Schedule

Gen Con 2016 will return to the Indiana Convention Center August 4-7 for THE BEST FOUR DAYS IN GAMING.

Gen Con is the original, longest running, and best-attended gaming convention in the world. Gen Con 2016 will feature more than 15,000 events taking place over the four-day weekend. Last year, Gen Con set an attendance record with more than 61,000 unique attendees coming from all 50 states, every Canadian province, and more than 54 countries. For the first time ever, Gen Con will offer programming in the Lucas Oil Stadium exhibition space. According to tourism group Visit Indy, Gen Con drives more than $67 million in annual activity to the city of Indianapolis.

For those wondering where to catch up with me, here you go:

Thursday, August 4th
4:00pm Business of Writing: Courting Controversy

Friday, August 5th
9:00am CrowdFunding 101
11:00am Writing Novels: Story Breadcrumbs
1:00pm Writer’s Craft: Epic Scenes
3:00pm Writing Novels: Ending it Right

Saturday, August 6th
12:00pm Writer’s Craft: Is Your Story Ready to Submit?
1:00pm Worldbuilding 101
3:00pm Signing

Then again, I live here, so I’m pretty easy to find here.

First off, I’ll be attending  4th Street Fantasy (Minneapolis, MN) from June 17 – 19.  I’ll be on these panels:

“Empire and Corporation” (Friday 8 PM)

Do corporations fill the same role(s) in our lives and in our stories that empires once did? Another suggested possibility for this panel: “Empires, Corporations, and Religions: Our Favorite Atagonism Machines!” How has representation of the corporation in SF/F changed over the years, and how has the public relationship to the concept of the corporation changed in the same time? Where do corporation and empire now sit in the pantheon of background influences and themes in SF/F?

“Writing to Strength, Writing to Weakness” (Saturday 5 PM)

How does one find the right blend? How does one find a blend at all? If we assume, as past 4th Street panels have asserted, that every writer is dealt a certain number of “cards,” artistic strengths that they develop sooner or more powerfully than others, do we want to build our play narrowly around those cards or keep fishing for new ones? What’s the difference between experimental self-improvement and frittering away one’s more obvious gifts? What’s the difference between laudable boundary-pushing and unsuccessful pretense? Who gets to decide what a writer is “meant” for, anyway?

 

Next up will be a couple of workshops I’ll be leading through the Indiana Writers Center:

 

World Building

Instructor: Maurice Broaddus
Date: Saturday, June 25
Time: 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Location: IWC
Cost: $57 Nonmembers, $39 members, $33 student members/teacher members/senior members/military members

Whether your story takes place in a far off land or an alternate version of an existing one; whether it is extrapolating science into futuristic technologies with its impact on society or conjuring new forms of magic, making your world believable is key. In this course you will learn about one of the special concerns of speculative fiction: world-building. Setting is an important part of any story. More particular to the speculative fiction writer is the world-building aspect of setting. Our job is to out-imagine our readers. The writer needs to make sure that their world operates within a consistent system. We will develop a basic checklist of items to think through as you build the universe for your characters to play in. This is all with a view toward submission and publication, so we will explore the marketplace, discussing where and how to submit your work.
Register online or download and print a registration form.

Click here for the Faculty Bio for Maurice Broaddus

View the IWC class registration policy

 

Instructor: Maurice Broaddus
Date: Saturday, July 23
Time: 9:30-12:30 p.m.
Location: IWC
Cost: $57 Nonmembers, $39 members, $33 student members/teacher members/senior members/military members

Characters are at the heart of stories and dialogue helps define characters and drive story.  In this workshop you’ll learn to develop characters, consider word choice, and define their voice through dialogue. The workshop will present essential tips to improve dialogue and explore how to write dialogue that rings true, deepens character, creates tension, and more.

Register online or download and print a registration form.

Click here for the Faculty Bio for Maurice Broaddus

View the IWC class registration policy

Yeah, you may want to check out this announcement over on Tor.com …

Introducing Buffalo Soldier — a New Fantasy Novella from Maurice Broaddus

 

(coming in Spring 2017!)

Guest Blog: A Ken Hughes Interview of Maurice Broaddus on Magic in Storytelling

I’m Ken Hughes, author of Shadowed and the upcoming The High Road. Since the first book deals with enhanced senses and the second with flying, I’ve always been a writer fascinated with the question: “How many ways can magic and the paranormal add to a story?” Thanks for agreeing to help me here explore it, Maurice. So let’s start at the beginning: how did you know you wanted the kind of magic you use in your writing?

KnightsOfBretonCourt-300dpiHow I use magic changes with each story and what I’m trying to do with it.  With The Knights of Breton Court trilogy, since I was essentially re-telling the Arthurian saga, the roadmap was laid out for me.  With the story being told through the lives of homeless teens, my approach for it was that magic would stand in as a metaphor for homelessness:  both are all around us if we know what to look for.

Magic can open a whole set of doors (and pitfalls) in the plot of a story, with new opportunities for characters. How has your concept of magic meshed with your plots?

Yes, magic can be a crutch, a built in Deus ex machina in case one writes themselves into a corner.  For me it’s like any other part of world-building.  I work out as much f it as possible in advance so that I know the “rules” I need to play within.  I knew going in, for example, I was going to use my love of the idea of ley lines as mystical boundaries dividing up the city.  That element has popped up in several of my stories.

Pick a character in your stories. Of all the ways they could use their magic, what’s their approach for choosing what to do with it, how to go about it, and what are the challenges or limits that puts them in conflict with?

Merle, my “magical redneck,” was a fan favorite, not the least because of his on-going arguments with his squirrel companion.  Magic was a tool that he wasn’t always in control of.  In a lot of ways, he’s a relic ready to be put out to pasture, a magic user in the age of reason, science, and technology.  So his is a constant call to look to the old ways, to look back on the stories and rituals which have shaped people in order to find their way forward.

When magic touches your characters’ lives, how does it tend to change their lives or their viewpoint?

When one confronts magic, it’s like that scientist/skeptic in a horror story when confronted with a demon of some sort.  They have lived within their worldview only to have that paradigm shattered.  Then it’s a scramble for survival while they piece together a new or broader way of looking at life.

What authors, myths, or other sources does your view of magic admire or draw from? Is there anything you think one source hasn’t done justice to?

So I recently had to write an essay where I had to create a mythological history of Kurt Vonnegut.  I re-imagined him as a practitioner of chaos magic.  It gave me an excuse to study the work of comic book writer, Grant Morrison, and his views/practice of it.

Sometimes it just clicks. Tell me about your favorite scene or moment where your brand of magic brought the story up to a new level.

In The Knights of Breton Court, the main character, King, is the classic reluctant hero.  There comes a point where the forces pulling at his life has him going up against the effects of the “Dragon’s breath.”  Like the skeptic earlier, he could continue in a state of denial and end up dead, or he could realize this ish just got real and level up.

It’s funny how we rarely think of the “monsters” as magical.  I wrote the Green Knight as an elemental.  He was a magical creature existing and making a (brutal) life for himself in the real world.  He as my favorite character to write.

Looking ahead for your writing: what’s your biggest hope for something you want to capture for writing about magic that you haven’t done yet?

The current novel I’m writing will be all about finding magic as a way to cope with life.  It follows a gamer who lives in a world without magic, but loves the idea of the wizard character he has created for himself.  So on one level it’s about a guy LARP-ing through life, on another it’s about finding ways to know yourself, discover who you are and to create your own reality.

About yourself now: what form of magic would you most like to have, and what would you use it for?

I had a discussion with my aunt who is a practicing obeah woman in Jamaica.  She told me that because of my faith—I’ve been a Christian for decades—that I have a powerful obeah spirt.  With that in mind, I think any faith, any system of belief, is t make us better people and be used as instruments of healing and making the world a better place.

On the other hand, I was raised on comic books and magic can also equal super powers, from Dr. Strange to Dr. Fate.  So there’s a good chance I’d slip on a pair of tights and go fight crime.

What’s the most important thing you want to convey to your readers when you write about magic?

I get asked a lot about how I can be a Christian and write about magic the way I do.  I have never seen these as incompatible bedfellows.  We live in a world full of mystery.  My worldview is already bent toward seeing the world as a spiritual place, that there is more to life than what we see and that there are forces all around us that can be drawn upon.

 

Many thanks for giving me an extra glimpse into your world. For links to this and some of the other authors I’ve interviewed, and my own comparison of the different views they take, take a look at www.KenHughesAuthor.com.

 

 

Still Talking About Knights

Couple of articles which talk about my novel series, the Knights of Breton Court:

 

Books to fill your reading time until the next “Game of Thrones”

Tracy Mumford ·

covers
Longing for the Lannisters? Wishing for more Winterfell? Let these epic fantasy series fill the “Game of Thrones”-sized hole in your heart. Courtesy of publishers

9 Diverse Fantasy Books That Will Challenge Your Idea of Fantasy Fiction

Fantasy recommendation lists are characterized by their safety. Curious newcomers to the genre, having enjoyed their sample of escapist literature, request more stories, more worlds to lose themselves in. More often than not, though, the recommendations that they receive are the same few critically acclaimed authors whose work is all too often presented as representative of the genre. My belief is that Fantasy literature is the perfect lens for readers to challenge our ideas of humanity, violence, society, and power. My recommendations in this list (yes, another list!) will reflect that belief. Buckle up.

[Click to keep reading, though I won’t spoil which book tops their list]

Stories for Good Causes

NaughtOrNice_final-1It’s been a pretty quiet year for me story-wise, so it’s nice to see it ending on such a high note of releases.  I have a couple of new projects out, both of which help raise funds and attention for good causes.

 

The first is the Naughty or Nice:  A Holiday Anthology edited by Jennifer Brozek.  “With a little bit of nice, a sprinkle of dark, a handful of sexy, and a whole lot of naughty, this adult-oriented anthology is filled with blushes, laughs, and gasps. This is not your average holiday reading. From the story behind Marley’s fate, to a little elf who makes the perfect “toy” to the holiday rituals that keep the world going, Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Anthology, keeps the pages turning.”

 

Besides getting to appear beside such luminaries as Jody Lynn Nye, Lucy Snyder, and Kevin J. Anderson, my story “The Kwanzaa Kid” is one of my personal favorites.

 

The first two months of proceeds goes to raise money for cystic fibrosis.

 

Click here to go order.

Twitter_Banner

 

The second project is Mythic Indy edited by Corey Michael Dalton.  “The anthology, whose proceeds support Second Story, features stories about aliens in the Indianapolis Zoo, cannibals in Tomlinson Hall, and the little-known tale of the Glendale penguins…With your purchase, you support the work being done by our tutors, our volunteers, and, of course, our students. Every year, Second Story works with students in Indianapolis schools to teach them the power of writing, and the magic that can happen on the page. We believe writing is fun, and writing is weird, and writing is powerful.”Mythic Indy

Some are frightening. Some are moving. Each is written by one of Indiana’s top contemporaries writers, including:

  • Ben H. Winters, the author of several New York Times best-selling novels including Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and The Last Policeman trilogy.
  • Maurice Broaddus, who wrote an original story set in the world of his Knights of Breton Court novels specifically for the anthology.
  • Sarah Layden, whose debut novel Trip Through Your Wires is currently receiving rave reviews from outlets like The Chicago Tribune.
  • Clint Smith, author of Ghouljaw and Other Stories, whose short story “Dirt on Vicky” is slated for inclusion in the Best New Horror No. 26 anthology.
  • Eliza Tudor, whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in HobartPANK,AnnalemmaspecsWeave, and Paper Darts.
  • Laura VanArendonk Baugh, best-selling and award-winning author of numerous stories and books including Kitsune-TsukiSmoke and Fears, and So to Honor Him.
  • Annie Sullivan, a graduate of Butler’s MFA program whose novel manuscript,Goldilocks, won the Luminis Books Award at the Midwest Writers Workshop.
  • Alex Mattingly, whose work has been published in numerous journals includingPANKAnnalemmaMidwestern Gothic, and Flywheel.

Don’t believe me that this one’s special?  You can go read the article written on the project in the Indianapolis Star.

Click here to go order.

Feel free to spread the word.

 

P.S. There’s a new interview with me over on the Fantasy Scroll Mag. Check it out here.

 

 

 

“Super Duper Fly” now up on Apex Magazine!

Apex 77I have a story up in the latest issue of Apex Magazine.  ”Super Duper Fly” was written for the upcoming anthology Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling, edited by Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli.  Here was the pitch:  Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology inspired by the works of writers and filmmakers like Joss Whedon who have played with long-standing tropes to create something fresh and new. Each story in this anthology will reflect your unique, creative examination of a specific trope that is prevalent in science fiction, horror, and fantasy.  ”Super Duper Fly” takes on the trope of  The Magical Negro and is quietly a sequel to my story “The Cracker Trap,” which was about “the black guy who dies first in a horror movie”.

Well, the powers that be decided to publish the story as a sneak preview for the anthology.  You can read it here.

You can also read an interview of me by the head power-that-be of Apex Magazine, Jason Sizemore, here.

Here’s my author’s note which explains the Magical Negro trope for the uninitiated:

Author Introduction

THE MAGICAL NEGRO—It’s easy to believe that this trope came from a good place or at least rose out of benign neglect. After all, a white writer is “writing what they know” or appealing to their target demographic, which is typically people like them, but they want a more diverse world. So the easy solution is to put an “other” at a critical place in their hero’s journey to help them along. The Magical Negro is one such other (see also: Magical Native American, Magical Asian, etc). One sees The Magical Negro in such movies as Ghost, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Family Man, and Bruce Almighty. Or in an unusual amount of Stephen King novels/movie adaptations such as The Stand, The Talisman (written with Peter Straub), The Shining, and the ultimate ode to The Magical Negro, The Green Mile.

The Magical Negro has several hallmarks. They have no history. They exist outside of any community of their own. Much like, if not fulfilling the role of, a fairy godmother, they arrive from somewhere that’s vague and otherworldly and returns in some manner. At their introduction, The Magical Negro has either a threatening or benign aspect: 1) appearing with an initial sense of danger, such as a Big Black Man, drug dealer, thief, or prisoner, in which case they must be quickly identified as helping and compassionate; or 2) showing up in some powerless capacity, like a janitor, homeless, or a musician, so that the hero can be approached or approach them without risk (or even demonstrate compassion by interacting with them). It doesn’t matter how great their wisdom or the extent of their magical powers, The Magical Negro’s sole purpose is to selflessly use their powers to help the white hero in their journey. Depicted as an agent of change/the one who makes amazing things happen, their role is meant to be an exalted position, though their role boils down to fitting a black person into a white person’s narrative.

Sometimes I’m grateful just to see a reflection of me included in the story. Other times I don’t think that my story is being respected and I get all stabby.

Now go read the story!

(Bonus story:  if you haven’t read my story “Pimp My Airship”, which appeared in Apex Magazine #2, you can go read it here!)

 

“The Iron Hut” now up on Lightspeed Magazine!

lightspeed_64_september_2015The September 2015 issue of Lightspeed Magazine, has my story “The Iron Hut“.  It’s available as a free read and as a bonus, there’s an interview with me (by Sandra Odell).  Here’s the opening:

I.

When they unearthed the mysterious shard, a sense of excitement rippled through the archaeological camp. They were onto something staggering. Professor Leopold Watson arrived first and examined the shard with reverent care. Kilwa Kivinje had disappeared into antiquity with no clues as to its whereabouts. Despite his colleagues’ skepticism, he was certain that the forgotten city was here—not far from the Olduvai Gorge—and this shard was the first evidence he’d seen that he was on the right track. Though anxious to send a report to the Associated Press, he opted to hold off until they knew what they were dealing with.

Leopold removed his broad-rimmed hat long enough to wipe the sweat from his scalp then tucked his few gray tufts of hair back under its protection. Small-framed glasses fixed to the bridge of his nose. Leopold possessed a thin face with weary creases radiating from his deep-recessed eyes. Miskatonic University, a small—though storied—university, couldn’t finance the expedition without the aid of the Nathaniel Derby Pickman Foundation. Dealing with the Foundation meant suffering their representative, Stanley McKreager. His crooked smile, as if he never quite got the hang of it, greeted the slow approach of his colleague.

(NOW GO FINISH READING IT!)

 

You can find the ebook edition in their ebookstore. If you click-through to the ebook page, you can see what else is in this month’s issue alongside my story.  Need some convincing?:

  • The Ninth Seduction
    by Sean McMullen (available on 9/8)
  • Estella Saves the Village
    by Theodora Goss (available on 9/15)
  • Werewolf Loves Mermaid
    by Heather Lindsley (available on 9/22)

NONFICTION

  • Editorial, September 2015
    by John Joseph Adams
  • Movie Review: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
    by Carrie Vaughn (available on 9/8)
  • Book Reviews, September 2015
    by Amal El-Mohtar (available on 9/15)
  • Interview: Ken Liu
    by The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (available on 9/22)

EXCLUSIVE EBOOK/PRINT CONTENT

  • NOVELLA: Milo and Sylvie
    by Eliot Fintushel
  • NOVEL EXCERPT: Walk on Earth a Stranger
    by Rae Carson
  • NOVEL EXCERPT: The Traitor Baru Cormorant
    by Seth Dickinson

This month’s issue is (or will be shortly) also available on Amazon, BN, Kobo, and Weightless Books. Links to the third-party seller editions can be found on the following page, if you click on the Purchase/Subscribe button.

 

By the way, in case you missed it, here’s my live chat on Dive into Worldbuilding.  Check it out if you’re interested in me going on about World Building.